An Overview of Selinda Adventure Trail
A FOUR DAY HELI-CANOEING/HELI-WALKING EXPEDITION ALONG THE SELINDA SPILLWAY
The high waters flowing through northern Botswana in 2009, together with subtle tectonic movements, caused the waters of the Okavango River to flow in a way that it has not done for nearly three decades, pushing east along the previously dry Selinda Spillway to meet the waters of the Linyanti in the west. This enabled adventurers the opportunity to experience a rare first, canoeing along the Selinda Spillway.
As the waters of the Selinda Spillway ebb and flow each year, some years with higher flood levels than others, so the name of the Selinda Canoe Trail was changed to reflect a more inclusive guided walking safari and is thus now known as the Selinda Adventure Trail.
The Selinda Adventure Trail team is run under the guidance of professional guides and occasionally led by Kane Motswana, a River Bushmen from the Gudikwa village located in Botswana’s Okavango Panhandle – an area to the west of the Selinda Reserve. Your guide’s intimate knowledge of the bush curates a memorable physical, spiritual and cultural journey through the wilderness.
The trail replicates the safari experiences of old as we chart a course along the Selinda Spillway and into the remote woodlands of the vast 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve. As over previous year’s we are always mindful of the climatic variances and changes that naturally occur in our remote locations. Following the ecosystem’s natural changes along the Selinda Spillway during the course of 2017, we have adapted the experience for 2018 to a 4 Day / 3 Night adventure.
The experience either entails a traditional canoe and walking safari following the route, whilst exploring side channels of the Selinda Spillway (subject to high-enough water levels); or a pure guided walking safari following a similar route (should the Spillway be dry or too shallow to canoe).
Please make sure you arrive at the Selinda Reserve airstrip by lunch-time on day 1 of the Adventure Trail so that you are able to join us on the scheduled helicopter air transfer which takes you to the starting point of your 4 day adventure. This may require you to overnight prior to commencement of the Selinda Adventure Trail, ideally at one of our camps such as Duba Expedition Camp or Duba Plains Camp.
The distance of the Selinda Adventure Trail differs depending on whether it is a walking or canoeing adventure. Walking distance is just over a total of 20 kilometers over the 4 days and canoeing is approximately 40 kilometers over the 4 days. Along either route we expect to come across several diverse species of wildlife that inhabit the Selinda Reserve. The area is well known for some of Botswana’s largest herds of buffalo, elephant, roan antelope and African wild dog.
Other possible sightings include cheetah, lion, leopard and a wide variety of other species. It is also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species possibly seen. The best time of year for canoeing is generally mid-June to end of August but water levels vary annually.
All three nights are spent in fly camps along the Selinda Spillway at pre-arranged sites. The days are spent paddling or walking along the Spillway and into the woodlands of the reserve, depending on which option is available at that time, with regular stops whenever there is something of interest to be seen along the way.
When canoeing, each canoe has two guests as well as their bed-rolls and soft bags. Participants paddle their own canoes each day. No previous paddling, canoeing or walking safari experience is needed as tuition and safety briefings are given – but participants must be fit enough to paddle their own canoes and be prepared to walk between camps when water levels are not sufficiently high on the Selinda Spillway.
Guests are not expected to put up their tents or help with the cooking and camp chores as our staff are always on hand to ensure your meals are spent relaxing. Walk-in canvas Kodiak tents are provided as they are comfortable and large enough for two people. Separate screened bucket showers with hot and cold water are also supplied.
When walking each guest will be supplied with a day backpack, which will include water and snacks. An armed, qualified walking guide as well as an experienced tracker will be with you at all times as you explore the banks of the Spillway as well as the more remote areas of the Selinda Reserve.
Walking is an integral component of the adventure and allows for access to new islands and lagoons. Even when you are on a canoe safari, each day includes walking experiences to investigate areas of regular predator activity or wildlife sightings. In addition if there happens to be wildlife activity that warrants investigation whilst canoeing, we stop on the banks and take a short walk into the bush.
Brunch is taken around mid-morning and light snacks are available throughout the day for sustenance until dinner. At night, the deep silence is punctuated by nocturnal sounds, from croaking frogs to roaring lion or the hyena’s whooping call.
On the last morning of the Selinda Adventure Trail, after a short morning walk or canoe, we end with a relaxed game drive from your final camp to the Selinda Airstrip for your onward departure. Ideally you could and should elect to stay on for an additional night or two at our Selinda Explorers Camp, Selinda Camp or Zarafa Camp and Dhow Suite.
The Selinda Adventure Trail truly defines adventure whilst bringing you closer to nature and creating a sense of being immersed within the wilderness.